Usually when I hear about middle-aged musicians that has reformed their band from back when that never made any impact – or even records at all for that matter – you know that it usually lasts for that one album they’re now promoting, tops two. Well, the guys from Blood Red Saints certainly had other plans as this record is their fourth since the debut Speedway back in 2015. For this album they have returned to Frontiers after leaving the label after the debut and recorded the follow-ups for AOR Heaven. They have also gone back to their AOR/Melodic Rock roots after going on a more experimental route for their last album Pulse (2019), an album that got some mixed reviews because of that but I think it was a really good album, very underrated.
The album opens strong with ”This Ain’t A Love Song”, an upbeat pop-rock laden rocker with some Extreme-like funky elements but also with some crunchy riffage that has Led Zeppelin meeting AC/DC and some Classic Rock inspired grooves. On top lies some affable melodies which takes my mind to Def Leppard meets FM territory. The big chorus, catchy as damn, is the icing on the cake making the tune a real winner. The very 80’s sounding ”Love Like War” is smoother with pop-arrangements all over yet quite straight ahead. The tune holds a fine mix of slick keyboards and big guitars and again they provide us with a huge refrain that sticks right from hello. Great stuff.
Leading single ”Heaven In The Headlights” is a real throw-back to 1986 with all the ingredients that were popular then – glossy keyboards, chunky guitars, a big pop-vive, uplifting with hooky melodies and a straight-forward rhythm. There are slight Journey-isms here and there and the elegant AOR vocal-melodies are superb with a huge refrain that would have been on high rotation on the radio back when. Good stuff. Latest single, the ballad ”Breathe” is where Bon Jovi and Def Leppard meets up in a slow-dance. With mellow and brittle verses and an effective main-melody to pave way for a bigger and comprehensive chorus, this delicate power-ballad really goes for the win. To my ears, this is a hit.
1988 seems to be the key-year for ”Caught In The Wreckage”. This tune goes from laid-back and down-beat to faster, upbeat and effervescent and as a whole, it’s an AOR-ish Arena Rock number with some clean-cut pop-hooks involved. Again, the band has managed to come up with one of those contagious choruses that etches itself to the brain whether you like it or not. Very good and very hit-friendly. ”Karma” is a semi-ballad, mid-paced and steeped in an immense soundscape. It holds a great deal of 80’s sounding synths, the kind that was too popular in 1987 and while it’s both poppy and AOR, it’s also holds energy which makes the song smoulder. The chorus isn’t as direct as the previous songs but it grows on you with each listen. Good one.
”Come Alive” sounds as if Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger) and Steve Brown (Trixter) had come together and written a song as it sounds like a perfect mix of The Defiants and Tokyo Motor Fist with slices of both guys’ day-bands. It’s a positive, uplifting and happy-go-lucky feelgood number made for long, warm summer nights with good friends a nice cocktails. It’s AOR with pop-touches but it still rocks. It’s a great fun-loving tune with a big hit-potential. Danger Danger meets up with Def Leppard in the uptempo pop-rocker ”Alibi”. It’s slick but with crunchy guitar and killer pop-hooks and a chorus that makes us wanna party like it’s 1989 – good one.
The album’s titular track is a rougher, edgier and more powerful take on AOR/Melodic Rock, quite intense and in-your-face with some heavier guitars. It’s still melodic with some smooth, memorable melody-lines and a Def Leppard-smelling refrain while the verses is a nod towards Treat. God one. We get another ballad in ”Complete”, a slow, slick slow-burner where the band put Bon Jovi, Blue Tears, Danger Danger and Def Leppard in a blender and pushes go. Full of both keys and acoustic guitars, the song might come across as a bit cheesy, but the chorus is so infectious I can’t help smiling. Good one.
Closing track ”All I Wanna Do” is a mid-paced, held-back number on the threshold to a ballad. It’s very smooth and silky and holds a saddening vocal-arrangement and a chorus that resembles the Heart song of almost the same title. This is pure 80’s pop-rock with a fits-like-a-glove chorus that sports some big vocals and even bigger backing vocals. Good stuff indeed.
So. if you’re looking for something completely new and revolutionary, then you might wanna look elsewhere because Blood Red Saints isn’t here for any other purpose than to entertain and make the music they grew up with and love – and it really shows. And what they love is AOR and Melodic Rock and if that’s not your bag of crisps then this is not for you. But for us who loves this genre and only looks for good music, this album is definitely worth a buy – or at least several spins on the streaming service of your choice. Also, this might a bunch of middle-aged geezers but close your eyes and it could be a new-started band of guys in their early twenties. Original? Nope, not the least. Good? Yes, very much so!